We’ve tried to illustrate this with sad bananas. Sad sausages. Sad dudes named Dick. Cupid’s bow going totally limp.
We can definitely keep going — we haven’t used the eggplant emoji yet and we have at least three reasonably decent jokes that involve a guy named Johnson — but, really, first we need to talk.
We know it seems slightly ridiculous. Smoking is notably bad for lungs. Lungs are not a penis. We passed basic anatomy; we get it.
Cigarettes have thousands of chemicals including nicotine. And those chemicals can damage blood vessels and attach to DNA — not just in the lungs. DNA is everywhere! In every cell! Which is why smoking is linked to all kinds of cancers besides just lung cancer (like bladder cancer or liver cancer, for example), and heart attacks and strokes.
Some of these chemicals cause plaque to build up in the damaged blood vessels. Yes, plaque sounds like the stuff dentists talk about on teeth, but not the same thing. Apparently the people who named medical issues weren’t particularly creative, which is unfortunate because dental plaque could have a better name. (Tooth fuzzies.)
Non-mouth plaque can build up over time in the arteries around the heart, cause a blockage and lead to a heart attack. But! There are also arteries that lead to the penis — the penile arteries. If those get blocked with plaque, blood can’t flow into the penis. Blood flow to the penis is necessary to get and keep an erection.
And this can start happening to guys as young as 20.